Monday, March 26, 2012

Wake early and get head start on your day

Although I am not quite ready for it, I'm often asked what I would like to have put on my tombstone. I often reply, "He couldn't sleep fast enough."

I guess I'm afraid I'm going to miss something. That's why I often stay up late at night and always get up early in the morning. To be successful, you often have to be both a night and a morning person.

A lot of really successful people get an early start to each day. I recently came across an article online on Business Insider on "23 Successful People Who Wake Up Really Early." Here are a few of them:

General Motors' CEO Dan Akerson told the Associated Press that he rarely sleeps past 4:30 or 5 a.m. so he can talk to GM Asia before it gets too late in their workday.

Gerry Laybourne, the founder and former CEO of cable channel Oxygen wakes up by 6 a.m. and leaves home 30 minutes later. "Once or twice a week, I go for a walk in Central Park with a young person seeking my advice," she told Yahoo! Finance. "And if someone is up early in the morning, then they are serious about life. I can't take time at the office to do this, but doing it in the morning allows me to get exercise and stay connected with young people at the same time."

New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark, the youngest CEO in the NBA, gets up at 3:30 a.m. so he can get to the office by 4:30 a.m. He sleeps in on the weekends and doesn't arrive at work until 7 a.m.

Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both are early risers. When the elder Bush was in the White House, he would get up at 4 a.m. to go running and be in his office by 6 a.m. He'd stay awake until 2 in the morning. The younger Bush kept a similar schedule and would often have early-morning meetings.

You don't need to go to those extremes; you can probably catch a couple of more hours of shut-eye and still succeed. However, you need to get up and get moving. Early to bed and early to rise, as Benjamin Franklin pointed out, can make you healthy, wealthy and wise. I understand the "early to rise" part is difficult for many people, but if you want to get a good start on the day, you can't sleep until noon. Follow these tips to get up and get moving toward success first thing in the morning:

Give yourself a good reason. Before you go to sleep, think about what you want to accomplish tomorrow. Make a list if necessary. Pick something you're passionate about to work on first. You'll find it easier to get out of bed when you've got something exciting to look forward to.

Get enough sleep. Maybe you can get by on four or five hours of sleep for a while, but over the long haul your body and brain will rebel. Even if you do pull yourself out of bed, your efforts won't be worth much. Make a point of consistently getting seven or eight hours of good sleep each night.

Use a buddy system. Enlist a friend to alternate making wake-up calls to each other, or make a regular date to work out. Getting up will be easier when you know another person is depending on you.

Don't snooze. Get up immediately when your alarm goes off. If necessary, place your alarm across the room so you have to get up to shut it off. I always drink two glasses of cold water to get my system started right away.

Establish a routine. Get up at the same time every day. Even if some mornings are more difficult to face than others, a consistent pattern will help your body wake itself up on time most days.

Trust me, you never get tired of being successful. It energizes you. It's hard to live life to the fullest if you sleep through half the day. The Roman poet Horace gave the same advice 2,000 years ago: Carpe diem, which means "seize the day."

Mackay's Moral: This is your wake-up call: You snooze, you lose.

by Harvey Mackay Mar 26, 2012

Wake early and get head start on your day

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Averyl Veliz

Averyl Veliz

Monday, March 12, 2012

Watch for employees' hidden skills

Do you have someone on your payroll with untapped skills? Most companies do, and they don't even know it.

Take Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks' new sensational point guard. Due to injuries and the poor performance of other players, he was thrust into the starting lineup and has become a star. You'd have to live under a rock to not have read about Linsanity.

Lin did well playing high-school basketball in Palo Alto, Calif., but he couldn't garner any athletic scholarships from the California colleges he wanted to attend, so he walked on at Harvard. Then he was undrafted by the NBA. He was eventually signed and cut by two teams when the Knicks claimed him off waivers. The Knicks were about to let him go when they decided to give him one more chance. He had a big game, and then another big game, and then another big game, and his career has taken off.

How could someone go unnoticed for so long, and in such a visible sport as professional basketball?

When Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant was asked this question, he said: "Players playing that well don't usually come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was possibly there from the beginning. It probably just wasn't noticed."

How many people on your payroll might have undetected talents?

The answer to that question goes far beyond who might be the best bowler for the company team or the best face to feature on the company website. No, the mother lode is the employee whose resume was great on its own but much more humble than the candidate proved to be.

Finding that talent is a challenge, but there are some steps you can take to encourage your superstars. Try these ideas:

Pay close attention to performance reviews. Managers should be on the lookout for special abilities or exceptional initiative. In addition, I recommend having employees rate their own performances and explain what areas they are especially interested in developing.

Reinstate the good old suggestion box. The employees who share innovative ideas may also be the folks who have some hidden talents that would help incorporate their suggestions. Reward the best ideas, and recognize them publicly so that others will be encouraged to share their unknown skills.
Ask for volunteers. When a new project comes along, instead of just assigning people, invite employees to showcase their hidden talents.

Perhaps you've seen the video of the Southwest Airlines flight attendant who found a way to ensure passengers would really pay attention to the typical preflight instructions. He decided to use his rap skills to make the announcement. The passengers will always remember where the exit rows are now, and the airline continues to bolster its reputation for making mundane travel fun.

Don't overlook less obvious advantages. A department assistant at an urban university liked to knit on her lunch hour. Soon other college employees brought their yarn and needles, and they gathered one day each week over lunch to make caps for newborns at the children's hospital. They hadn't known each other well before that, but as they became better acquainted, the interdepartmental cooperation burgeoned. The university enjoyed some very positive community reaction as well.

When phone salesman Paul Potts told the judges on the "Britain's Got Talent" competition show he was going to sing opera, judge Simon Cowell rolled his eyes and made a stinging remark about the contestant's cheap suit. But Potts was used to unkind remarks. He'd heard them all his life. Something much bigger was at stake for him in that moment. He had talent, and he knew it. What he'd always lacked were the means and confidence to pursue the singing career he dreamed about. This competition was a long shot. But it was also his last desperate chance to connect with the recording industry and climb out of debt and a dismal job. And so he sang.

The tenor stunned the judges and brought the audience to tears with his performance. It was just the validation he needed to boost his confidence. Now, two CDs and two tours later, he insists he will remain the humble "everyman" he's always been, just with better suits.

Mackay's Moral: Hidden talents don't have to be huge, but the results can be.

by Harvey Mackay - Mar. 11, 2012 07:51 PM Universal Press Syndicate

Watch for employees' hidden skills

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